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tv   World News Today  BBC News  April 13, 2018 9:00pm-9:30pm BST

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this is bbc world news today. i'm kasia madera. out top story... tensions over syria could lead to "full—blown military escalation" the united nations secretary general issues the dire warning — and says the cold war was back with a vengeance. the situation in the middle east is in chaos, to such an extent that it has become a threat to international peace and security. the us state department says it has proof that syria was behind the chemical attack in douma. russia insists it was staged by britain. donald trump describes james comey as an "untruthful slime ball", after the former fbi director compared the president to a mafia boss. the leading actors‘ union in the us says acting auditions should no longer take place in hotel rooms hello and welcome to world news today.
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the un secretary general antonio guterres has warned that the cold war is back with a vengeance and issued a dire warning about military escalation in syria. his comments came at a heated session of the un secretary council in new york as relations between the west and russia plummeted further. moscow has again defended the asaad government, saying an alleged attack in eastern ghouta did not involve chemical weapons and accused foreign powers of staging the attack. the white house says it's now very confident syria carried out last weekend's attack. and 12 american warships have been spotted moving to the middle east. our diplomatic correspondent james robbins has more. douma is firmly back under syrian government control. this is the ruined town where it is alleged president assad's forces used chemical weapons a week ago. rebel forces have now fled, or been killed. russian troops are in douma, too,
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claiming they're part of victory, insisting they found no evidence of any poison attack, no victims either. western powers suspect there has been ample time to destroy evidence. the west is finalising plans for possible punitive strikes. at the united nations security council, the cockpit where opposing powers fight with words, the secretary—general warned that military tensions between the west and russia could spiral out of control. the cold war is back with a vengeance but with a difference. the mechanisms and safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present. the united states says it has not yet decided on military action, but their estimates point to president assad using chemical weapons in this war at least 50 times. all nations and all people will be harmed if we allow assad to normalise the use of chemical weapons.
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russia's ambassador painted a different picture, of western powers fabricating a case to justify force and impose regime change. translation: we continue to observe dangerous military preparations to an illegal act of force against a sovereign state in what would constitute a breach of international law. the west rejects that, so what could its military response involve? the americans have the uss donald cook in the mediterranean, which could hit syrian targets with cruise missiles. they could be supported by british tornadoes based in cyprus. then the french have a frigate, as well as fighter jets based in jordan. us and uk submarines are in the region, two, armed with cruise missiles. no one is suggesting there has to be confrontation
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with the russians, but they already have anti—missile defence systems at two airbases in syria, with a range capable of reaching cyprus. they also have an unknown number of fighter jets in the region. russia is accusing british spies of fabricating the entire chemical weapons attack. translation: in fact, we have irrefutable data that this was another staged event which involved special services of one of the countries trying very hard to be at the forefront of the anti—russian campaign. whatever precisely happened in douma, the russian defence ministry is now accusing britain directly of organising it. britain calls that a grotesque, blatant lie. the war of words is louder than ever. any military steps are still unknown. in the past 30 minutes, the white house has been briefing reporters
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and said there is no doubt be a sad regime was behind the chemical attack. —— the assad regime. regime was behind the chemical attack. -- the assad regime. once again, we are confident in the intelligence that we have, and we know that syria is responsible for these actions. barbara plett usherjoins me now from washington. sarah huckabee sanders, once again staying with that line and saying that they are confident they know it was assad behind the chemical weapons attack in douma? yes, we had a briefing at the state department that took place at roughly the same time, with a similar message. i think it is stronger than it has been before. the spokeswoman said that the us has proof that the syrian government was behind the chemical attack. we asked her, are you basing this on us intelligence, and she would not comment on that. she said different departments and agencies have their own sources of information and they were looking at everything. there is a very high level of confidence in their assessment, they say. the chemical watchdog, the 0pcw, is landing in
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syria and will be carrying out an investigation in the next 2a hours. that body does not have the ability to determine who carried out the attack. she said the assessment three governments, the us, britain and france, are that the syrian regime was behind it. as i said, it is quite a strong statement today, given that yesterday when the defence secretary was speaking, he was saying, i believe a chemical attack was carried out, but we don't have the actual evidence, no matter what you see on social media, we don't actually have the evidence. he did not single out these syrian government officially at that point. i think it is a stronger statement than we have seen before. in terms of getting details about an actual strike, we are no clear yet? no, we are not. the meetings are still going on. as the spokeswoman at the white house said, the president is still meeting with partners and allies and discussing what to do
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next. it does seem there is a momentum building towards some sort of military action. it is something that they have been trying to work out the fobt, despite this escalation and rhetoric midweek. they have to think about the level of strycova might take, when they did something similar. it was a one—off and it did not seem to serve as the deterrent they wanted it to. this might be a larger one, but that includes larger risks. there has also been some attempt, it seems, to communicate with the russians. if there is a larger strike, there is a greater risk of accidentally hitting russian targets. the french president was speaking to vladimir putin today, there are media reports that there is communication to the tactical communications link that the two sides have. but those are all things that are being taken into consideration while they are talking about what to do next. the word from the white house is that a decision
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has not been taken. in the meantime, we watch and wait. thanks very much as always. the government's national security advisor says russian military intelligence had been spying on sergei skripal and his daughter yulia, at least five years before they were poisoned in salisbury in march. sir mark sedwill in a letter to nato, says there's evidence russia hacked ms skripal‘s email account in 2013. 0ur security correspondent, gordon corera has more details. nearly six weeks on, police cordons are still in place in salisbury, as the investigation continues. today, the government provided new details to press its case that russia was responsible. we already knew that the highest concentration of the nerve agent was found on the front door handle of sergei skripal‘s home, but today, in a letter to nato allies, britain's national—security adviser said that in the 2000s russia began a programme to train special units, and this programme subsequently included investigation of ways of delivering nerve agents, including by application to door handles.
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he also claimed that yulia skripal had her e—mail hacked by russian some of these details come from secret intelligence, collected in part by mi6. there had been a debate among officials about how much could be released, but the view at the highest levels was that it is important to provide as much as possible to try and convince doubters at home and abroad. this afternoon, russia's ambassador in london was dismissive of the investigation. the investigation is conducted in the most non—transparent way. the british government refused to corporate
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group in colombia. president lenin moreno had given the group 12 hours to offer proof of life before security forces would take action. the three employees of ecuador‘s el comercio newspaper were kidnapped along the country's conflictive border with colombia. they had reportedly been investigating a rise in drug—fueled violence along ecuador‘s northern border. the bbc‘s south america correspondent, katy watson joins me from lima in peru. just remind us about the background of this? as you said, they were
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taken at the end of last month. there were three of them, javier 0rtega, the reporter, paul rivas, the photographer, and their driver, efrain segarra, working for the el comercio paper. they were looking into the increase in drug fuelled violence across the border. it has been a problem ever since fa —— ever since farc has some factions that decided not to take part in the agreement. 0ne decided not to take part in the agreement. one group claimed they had killed the it"; last ,, night am giving the rebel group i2 hours to give some proof of life for the three men. after those 12 hours passed, nothing had happened. he came out live on television, practically in tears, saying that the three men had indeed been killed. a difficult announcement for
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the president. the kidnapping of these three men sparked demonstrations across the country? that's right. there was consternation in ecuador and colombia, a feeling that the government had not done enough and soon enough. since the president flew back from lima, the president of colombia has pledged to support, the president of ecuador said he was speaking to the military and police to talk about actions. what those actions will be our own clear. but certainly he's not letting this go. he said that ecuador is in mourning. it shows how fragile the colombian peace process continues to be? that's right. i was in colombia last month, and the talk about the fact that there was no peace in colombia, it is very early to say there has been a peace process, yes, the farc, the majority of them have tried to be reintegrated. at there have been some factions that have decided not to go down that path. that still
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remains, at the end of the day, as long as there is the cocaine trade, there is still that violence. that is something that the country will continue to bother with. thank you very much. president trump has hit back at his former fbi director, james comey, after he called the president a mafia boss who is driven by ego. mr comey — who was sacked last year — is releasing his memoir. in an interview on american television, mr comey recalled advising the president not to order an investigation into intelligence claims about mr trump's alleged sexual behaviour on a business trip to moscow. when he started talking about, "i may order you to investigate that", isaid, "sir, that's up to you. but you want to be careful about that, because it might create a narrative that we are investigating you personally. and second, it's very difficult to prove something didn't happen." welljust hours after the first extracts of mr comey‘s forthcoming memoir were published, president trump launched a tirade of abusive tweets, calling mr comey a leaker and a liar.
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in the tweets he said mr comey "lea ked classified information, for which he should be prosecuted. he lied to congress under oath. he is a weak and an untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible director of the fbi." president trump finishes with: "it was my great honor to fire james comey!" the bbc‘s anthony zurcher is covering this story from washington. i spoke to him about this memoir, not yet published, that has already hit a nerve with the president. yes, i think it's clear that the two of them, their personalities clash and they never would have gotten along, even without the russia investigation. but the book hasn't been published yet, but we are getting excerpts of it, and many in the media have pored over it. we have seen what james comey does in here is he shares details of his interactions with donald trump, beyond what we already knew. there are a couple of new items in there, a phone call from john kelly, who was then director of homeland security, but is now chief of staff,
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saying that he ought to resign when james comey was fired. and comey convinced him to stay. but there's nothing really earth—shattering in this book, beyond shedding light on their interactions. i think the real revelations could come later, whenjames comey goes on this media blitz. he's got an interview on sunday night, on an american broadcaster, he's going to talk to the bbc on wednesday. that's when he's going to be pushed. it will be interesting to see how he responds. you say no big revelations as yet, we are getting more details. the main striking thing is the difference in tone, compared to what we saw in james comey‘s testimony back in june. this time what we're hearing is incredibly personal? it is. james comey is not holding back at all in this book. in his testimony lastjune he said he felt maligned by the president, that he had slandered him, defamed him, that he had lied about his performance as fbi director. but in this book, time and time again, james comey either directly orjust in the subject matter he is talking about discusses problems he had with donald trump.
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his personality, with his behaviour in office, with the way he comports himself. you could tell that james comey has a very low view of the way donald trump has performed as president. particularly with his dealing with the rule of law, and his relation to the russia investigation. comey has distinct ideas about how leaders in this country should behave, what standards they should hold themselves to. time and time again in this book, he finds that donald trump is not met that standard. sir cliff richard has told a high courtjudge he felt forever tainted, by the bbc‘s coverage of a police raid on his home in berkshire, following a sex assault allegation. the 77—year—old singer is taking legal action against the broadcaster, following the raid in 2014. in his evidence to the court, sir cliff said that after seeing the coverage on television, he collapsed in his kitchen sobbing, and that helicopter footage
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of the search of his flat, has caused him profound and long lasting damage. the bbc says its coverage was in the public interest. our special correspondent lucy manning's report contains some flash photography. sir cliff richard often performs in front of thousands, but with his friend gloria hunniford alongside him, he came this afternoon to the high court and stepped into the witness box, telling the judge of the torture and hurt caused by the bbc when it broadcast pictures of police searching his flat in 2014. south yorkshire police are searching a property in berkshire owned by sir cliff richard. i could see the cameras are zooming in to show police rummaging through drawers, he said, i felt disturbed and very upset, like watching burglars in my apartment going through my personal belongings. the singer was tearful at the beginning as he remembered seeing the bbc broadcast
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for the first time. he claims they portrayed him as a sex offender around the world before he had even been questioned by police. normally an energetic performer, the singer said the allegation of a historical sex offence against him and the bbc coverage of it had changed him. he suffered physically and mentally, collapsing on his knees and sobbing the day after the broadcast. he was never charged or arrested and claims the bbc invaded his privacy. as sir cliff richard was finishing giving evidence he broke down in tears saying, i am not sure i can go on. he was listing the countries he claims where his reputation was ruined. he said, everywhere i have ever been, i felt my name was smeared. the police did not do that. the bbc did. sitting listening, bbc news managers. the bbc says it was in the public interest to run a story
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about a serious police investigation that was accurate and where information had been provided by police. the south yorkshire force who searched the flat has paid £a00,000 to the singer in damages and more in legal costs, and apologised. but it says the bbc was more responsible for his distress and should pay a share. sir cliff richard was clear about the impact he claims this has had. i felt forever tainted, he said, i still do. stay with us on bbc world news, still to come... we will also have a full round—up of the sports news. pol pot is said to have died of
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natural causes. he and the movement he led were responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million cambodians. there have been violent protests in indonesia, where a playboy has gone on sign wait sail for the first time. traditionalist muslim leaders have expressed disgust. editorial staff have gone into hiding. have expressed disgust. editorial staff have gone into hidingm have expressed disgust. editorial staff have gone into hiding. it was clear that her only contest was with the clock. as for a sporting legacy, her competitors will be chasing the time for years to come. quietly, but quicker and quicker, she seemed just to slide away under the surface and disappear. lets get all of the sports news now.
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the two semi final draws for the two european football competitions on friday both pit the two favourites against each other in the last four. in the champions league, bayern munich and real madrid were drawn together. they've won the european cup 17 times between them and they'll meet for the right to contest yet another final this season. while liverpool and roma meet in a repeat of the 1984 final, after both had such impressive wins in the quarter finals this week. day nine of the commonwealth games on australia's gold coast brought a day of dominance for caster and kenya, while for one english athlete a chance to reach their potential at last, as austin halewood reports. speak micro caster caster semenya has taken titles all
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over the world, and after winning gold in the longer formally end the week it was time for her favourite distance the result was never in doubt. she led from gunter tape, coasting home in a new commonwealth record. it ensure the south african still hasn't been beaten over the distance since 2015. when i look at the record, i know that i can pass it, 58, 57, trying to maintain the pace. i can it, 58, 57, trying to maintain the pace. i can overcome it, 58, 57, trying to maintain the pace. i can overcome that. today it was all about mastering skills. the men's steeple case is all about kenya. the african nation have taken a clean sweep in the event for the last six, 12 games. 2018 was no different. the olympic and world champion leading the way to complete his full set of titles. like him,
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katarina johnson—thompson is an athlete that has struggled to reach athlete that has struggled to reach a full potential on the global stage. leading the heptathlon overnight, she got date two off to the perfect start. ajump overnight, she got date two off to the perfect start. a jump of 6.50, 31 centimetres ahead of the rest of the field. with that, the damage was done. after a cautious javelin, safely negotiating the 800 metres despite the pain of a calf injury, the gold medal was hers. a first major outdoor title and perhaps a first major step away from jessica ennis—hill's shadow. speaking of shadows, for so long jamaica's athletics team have played second fiddle to usain bolt. now without him, a hangover was to be expected. the performances on the track have still been a disappointment. 0n friday, it was their display in the field that brought some pride back to the caribbean island. gold in the men's discus with a throw of 68.20, just moments before one of the
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biggest shocks of the night. daniel thomas dog throwing 19 metres 36 in the shot put to beat the double 0lympic the shot put to beat the double olympic champion valerie adams of new zealand's, and take the gold. that is all of your sport for now. acting auditions should no longer take place in hotel rooms, according to the leading actors‘ union in the united states. the announcement comes after wide—spread sexual harassment allegations against high—profile hollywood figures. i asked david white, the national executive director how common these informal auditions are. it comes as a surprise to most people have frequently these meetings are held, in these high—risk locations. but during festivals and things of that nature, networking events, people claim that they don't have any other place to meet. so it's much more common than people realise.
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is that a legitimate claim? it is in certain circumstances. you will note in the prohibition that we put out, we actually have an avenue, during those moments when people don't have a reasonable alternative, we allow for it. but you have to bring a support peer, so that it's not done in the shadows, where misconduct and assaults happen. now, casting couches, it is a term that has been used for many, many years. is this something that you wanted to change for a while, or is this something you are now focusing on following on from the harvey weinstein allegations? the casting couch is an age—old problem, although what we are addressing goes beyond that. we absolutely see this as an opportunity, now that there is such a high—profile view on the problem of sexual assault and even worse, rape and harassment, we are seizing the opportunity to address some of these age—old issues. from me and the team, goodbye.
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the unrelenting gloom of this week is finally going to lift in many areas. something brighter on the way for the weekend. clear spells spreading from the south at the moment. still a lot of cloud along the north of england and scotland. even where these guys start to clea ra nce even where these guys start to clearance in southern areas, you might start to see mist and fog, low cloud developing, patchy stuff here and there. temperatures around five or7 and there. temperatures around five or 7 degrees, not a cold night. into the weekend, something warm and bright as well. it will be increasingly breezy and there will still be some outbreaks of rain at times. during saturday, a lot of cloud around to start off, mist and fog, better chance of cloud breaking up fog, better chance of cloud breaking up to give spells of sunshine. most places will stay dry, but a scattering of showers possible towards the south later in the day, temperatures not doing badly at all. 14 degrees for edinburgh, 17 in london. we will see some rain on
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sunday, but through the week ahead things will turn significantly warmer. at bbc wales investigation goes on the trail of human traffickers who treat their victims like slaves and forced them into a life of misery working as cleaners in the welsh capital. a people trafficker is caught on camera by undercover police. another is on his way to make money from modern—day slavery in wales. this victim was beaten and forced to work for a pittance and the shadows of the senate. here, two men were forced to work as cleaners. in fact, their boss, human traffickers is all
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smiles. the company that hired him had no idea he was hiding a shocking secret. he is significant. he is someone secret. he is significant. he is someone who has previously done the best been convicted of double murder of trafficked victims within the czech republic and sentenced to 24 yea rs czech republic and sentenced to 24 years and served 16 years in a check present prior to coming here. his accomplice and cardiff was his brother—in—law. accomplice and cardiff was his brother-in-law. this is an organised crime group. parts of the group are based here in cardiff. the other pa rt based here in cardiff. the other part were based in the czech republic. and the recruiters and the czech republic were looking from elsewhere down on their luck. they owned cleaning companies in cardiff. for other workers told lisa that they were forced to work. this man was beaten and paid just £100 a month. they're running a slavery
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operation. they were running an operation. they were running an operation to make money. 0n the back of others. next to drugs trafficking, modern—day slavery is thought to be the world's most lucrative crime. it is a trait that is very much alive here on the streets of wales. last year around 200 men, women and children were identified by police as potential victims. and there could be hundreds more, hidden in communities across wales. as well as human trafficking and modern—day slavery, there are also other forms of labour exploitation happening in wales. we've
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